Rules changes for next year include coaches, managers being able to bring interpreters to the mound

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Jayson Stark reports on several potential rules changes that spun out of last week’s owners meetings. The most notable: coaches and managers will be able to bring an interpreter to the mound for meetings with players who don’t speak fluent English.

No word if Phillies pitchers will get their own English-to-1940s grifter interpreter for when Charlie Manuel comes out for pitching changes.  “I don’t even know what ‘what’s the rumpus’ means,” said Cole Hamels, explaining his support for the rule.

Other proposed changes:

  • Teams will be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform; the previous limit was six; and
  • The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move would now be considered a balk.

The first one is because so many teams are hiring assistant hitting coaches.  The second rule must be aimed at bloggers and color commentators, who will now no longer be able to say “that move rarely works, so I don’t know why they do it.”

The proposed changes have to now be approved by the union before being implemented.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.